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Can a 4-handicap man beat an LPGA pro?


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#1 golfdigest

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 01:38 PM

In her August "Ask Stina" column, Senior Editor Stina Sternberg responded to the question of whether a 4-handicap male player could outplay an LPGA pro. A reader had a friend who thought he could. Stina called the man "delusional." "As a 4-handicapper, he'd get so badly beaten by any of the LPGA's 152 players (even those with nonexempt status) that he'd have a tough time getting back up." The question, and Stina's response, generated a lot of (mostly male) mail.


Dear Stina,
I am glad the viewer listed a 4-handicapper in the question because if you go to a 2-handicapper and provide him with the conditions the ladies play on he will be a scratch or better. I would take him over two-thirds of the field at most ladies tournaments, maybe more if played from the tips. Consider: Watered-down bunkers pristinely raked; rolled greens that are fast and smooth (most good golfers prefer fast greens, but the course can't keep greens alive cut that low all the time).  Most good courses have bunkers in front of all par 5s and I don't see that at many women's venues. I will probably go to the Women's U.S. Open at Pinehurst for one day just to see where the ladies play from. I have played that course several times. It can be a challenge if the greens are hard and fast and the tees are back. I've posted a 74 and a few 76's from the men's tees.

Brad
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Dear Stina,
Good day. A previous writer said his 4-handicap friend believed he (hitting the ball 300 yards plus) could beat the average LPGA tour pro on 18 holes. I believe it would depend greatly on the course. If course conditions are like those at Congressional or Oakmont for a PGA Tour event I may give the edge to the big hitter. First, because the big hitter can spin the ball and hold the greens and the closer you are to the green the better off you are on such courses. In addition, courses with par 3s in excess of 240 yards (Congressional #2) will not help the average LPGA member as I do not believe they have a club that would hold those greens.

Now, for the dose of reality to the amateur. Amateurs in golf lack the mental aspect (unless they have played a professional sport like Tony Romo or John Elway) and when confronted with playing with a pro would perform in ways foreign to them because of being nervous. Now if I could take Mr. Romo (2) or Elway (1)  in the same bet it would be a no brain-er for me as they should triumph given their abilities to perform under pressure and their physical prowess in given situations.

I do agree with you about the percentages in driving, etc., but I also submit that a course set up to PGA Tour standards would also not benefit the average (not the best)  LPGA tour pro as it would be tougher than a Women's U.S. Open.

Let me know the time and place this takes place and I will bring my wallet depending on: the course, setup, and who is playing as well as their sports resume.


Cheers,
Roger Wiskavitch
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Dear Stina,
Not only are you spot on about a 4-handicap player getting waxed by any LPGA pro, but I would say the top AJGA junior girl would kill the guy as well.  I have played squash at a very high level for most of my adult life and have played against the top women squash players and when younger, I could kind of hold my own. But I lost to most of them.  And squash is a fairly minor unknown game.  Guys don't get it: Venus Williams, Dinara Safina would kill all but the top men's college players in tennis.  The top women softball pitchers would routinely strike out all but the best men baseball players.  I could go on.  I am a 8-handicap golfer who took up the game at age 38 and what I have seen is it would take a country club player with at least a +2 to even stand a chance and then not much of one.  Being a father of three daughters who all played competetive sports I have seen it.  Give me the name of the number 100-ranked LPGA player and I would bet paychecks on her against a 4 on ANY course.

Fred Duboc
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Dear Stina,I want to comment on your recent column in Golf Digest discussing the 4-handicapper that thinks he can beat most LPGA players. Clearly this guy is out of touch. The women of the LPGA, Duramed and college ranks are real  athletes’ many of whom maintain a workout schedule equal to that of the best athletes’ in the world regardless of sport or gender. All one needs to do is watch the re-runs of Big Break to see some great women golfers. Kim Welsh and Gerina Mendoza both drive the ball around 300 yards consistently. I’m a 6-handicap and I would never think to play any plus 3 handicapper even-up on any course regardless of length. The big issue here isn’t length or gender. These women are just plain better golfers than a 4- or 6-handicapper. Guys like “Mister 4-handicap” give the rest of us(men) a bad name.

Matthew Geier
Saint Charles, Ill

Let's set aside the talent level for a moment. Nerves would do the man in. A couple days after our U.S. Open Challenge amateur winner, Larry Giebelhausen, shot 101 at Bethpage, we played at another Long Island course. Granted, the set-up was nowhere near as difficult, but it was not an easy golf course. Larry shot even par on the front nine, three or four over on the back. It was not his talent, but rather the pressurized situation at the Challenge, the fact that he was totally out of his element, that had been the issue at Bethpage. And it would be, too, for our 4-handicapper against the LPGA players

But it would be fun to see, wouldn't it?

--Bob Carney


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#2 chrismikayla

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 12:04 PM

After watching Lydia Ko and Inbee Park dismantle the Olympic Course they could give me 4 shots a side and still beat me bad.
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#3 djmohab2

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 12:13 PM

I don't know about a 4-handicap, but I will say this. The gulf between men's and women's sports is larger than most people think. I mean the USWNT has lost to U17 boys' teams, and they were the best team in the world at the time. There's a reason why Dustin Johnson can bomb one 350+ on demand, and well, there's no woman on the LPGA that could. I know equality, and misogyny, and blah, blah, blah, but there are certain physical differences between the two sexes than cannot be ignored. It would take someone better than a 4-handicap, but I'd say a high-level amateur that doesn't fold like a cheap beach tent under pressure would be even money.
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#4 MtlJeff

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 12:19 PM

A 4 handicap means on a fairly normal course the guy is shooting 75-79 or whatever as his good scores.  That's maybe like a fairly benign 6500-6600yd course at the end of the day.  

LPGA player would crush a 4 handicap

A top 100 LPGA player would most likely  win our club championship and our course is 6700yds 75/140. The winning score is usually around +5. I think barring unusually poor play they would beat that.  Or at least be the heavy favourite every year
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#5 MtlJeff

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 12:22 PM

View Postdjmohab2, on 23 August 2016 - 12:13 PM, said:

I don't know about a 4-handicap, but I will say this. The gulf between men's and women's sports is larger than most people think. I mean the USWNT has lost to U17 boys' teams, and they were the best team in the world at the time. There's a reason why Dustin Johnson can bomb one 350+ on demand, and well, there's no woman on the LPGA that could. I know equality, and misogyny, and blah, blah, blah, but there are certain physical differences between the two sexes than cannot be ignored. It would take someone better than a 4-handicap, but I'd say a high-level amateur that doesn't fold like a cheap beach tent under pressure would be even money.

Agree with you that the gap is large.  But a 4 handicap isn't good on this type of scale we are discussing.

A top ranked 14-15yr old amateur in his state is a discussion

A 4 handicap is a 4 handicap.  The numbers don't lie that guy just isn't good enough.  


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#6 bmurph

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 12:23 PM

4 capper is dead meat no question and fun only in the Schadenfreude category of fun.  the better thread on this was whether a group of the top LPGA players could compete in the men's NCAAs as a team, that one makes you think.

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#7 cardoustie

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 12:30 PM

4 capper gets killed

A tried and true male tourney +2 has a good shot, especially if they play 6800 yards.  Not sure at 6100 or 6200 to be honest

Didn't this thread get beat to death a few years back?
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#8 robrey85

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 12:48 PM

Where's that chart that shows how often a such and such handicap plays to a such and such handicap?

IE: 4 handicap players to a +2 handicap 1 out of 405,678 rounds.

I thought I saw it recently on a thread but there is a slim, slim chance that Mary would marry Lloyd so who's to say there is absolutely not chance in hell that this player could beat a LPGA Tour Pro? Is it likely? Pfft, no. Could it happen? Yeah, no doubt.
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#9 Shipwreck

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 02:38 PM

4 handicap? Not a chance in hell. A true scratch golfer (or perhaps a +1 or +2) and I would say it would come down to length and course. And that scratch + player better be deep too, because if the two players lengths are the same, the LPGA will wax the floor with them all day.
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#10 cardia10

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 02:48 PM

Doubtful, a former LPGA plays at my club and plays against former first team all american D1 males who played multiple mini tours. She typically walks away with cash and plays the same tees as them. Her LPGA avg drive was 250 so she is at a disadvantage there, but not by too much. Here best finish in an event was 2nd but was not a name player by any means. I couldn't name a 4 handicapper with any sense at our club that would play her, much less a regular better LPGA player.

Edited by cardia10, 23 August 2016 - 02:49 PM.


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#11 pheenomz4774

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 02:56 PM

With the precision of the LPGA tour pro's I don't think so. I think you have to get to scratch or + territory on a longer course to make this an "even money" bet.
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#12 SoCalTitleist

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 03:00 PM

I don't get why so many people think the LPGA pros are just  average golfers .

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#13 Hot Rod 71

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 03:01 PM

Not a snowball's chance in hell.
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#14 Frohlich

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 03:04 PM

I am glad the WRX long drive egos are in check here.  I would agree 100% that an average LPGA pro would wipe the floor with anything other than a + handicap male golfer.  I am a 6 handicap at the moment (not quite a 4 but not that far off)  and would get beaten like a rented mule playing an LPGA pro.

Edited by Frohlich, 23 August 2016 - 03:04 PM.


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#15 McCann1

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 03:06 PM

LPGA pros are some of the best short game players and putters in the world. Distance doesn't matter on that tour as much as PGA. They can get the ball up and down like nobody else and for that reason alone would destroy a 4 handicapper because those are the type that have their game somewhat together but can't get the ball in the hole quick enough

Enjoy the chase.

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#16 From_Parts_Unknown

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 03:16 PM

Jaclyn Jansen fired an 82 her last day at the Marathon tournament a month ago.  Highland Meadows Golf Club was the course and they played from 6,500 yards.  What would a 4 handicap shoot there?

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#17 nova6868

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 03:24 PM

Serena Williams is apparently the greatest tennis player of all time, and she was destroyed by some guy who was ranked 500th in the world or something.

I'm actually not aware of many matches between LPGA players and high-ranked male amateurs.

Edited by nova6868, 23 August 2016 - 03:25 PM.


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#18 Barfolomew

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 03:30 PM

Only way is if conditions were perfect for the guy and far from for the chick....
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#19 CallawayLefty

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 03:33 PM

I went to an LPGA event a couple years ago.  They were the 3rd best players I've ever seen behind (1) PGA players and (2) web.com players.  Maybe elite level amateurs and mini tours would have some chance to contend with them.  But scratch players, your average +1 or +2, and most certainly a 4 handicap, have absolutely no chance whatsoever.  Your average +1 or +2 would make an occasional cut on the LPGA.  Nobody worse than that would even be close.  It's hilarious that some people would even think that a 4 handicap could do anything close to what LPGA tour players do.  How in the hell is a guy who probably averages 82 going to go shoot 71 from a tournament prepared 6,600 yard course.  No chance.  

You have no idea how good pro golfers are.  Male or female - doesn't matter.  They're really, really good.  And if you don't understand how good they are, it probably means that you yourself just aren't good enough at golf to get it.

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#20 Krt22

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 03:34 PM

View PostSoCalTitleist, on 23 August 2016 - 03:00 PM, said:

I don't get why so many people think the LPGA pros are just  average golfers .

The male ego is capable of some mighty feats!


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#21 Hot Rod 71

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 03:39 PM

View PostMtlJeff, on 23 August 2016 - 12:19 PM, said:

A 4 handicap means on a fairly normal course the guy is shooting 75-79 or whatever as his good scores.  That's maybe like a fairly benign 6500-6600yd course at the end of the day.  

LPGA player would crush a 4 handicap

A top 100 LPGA player would most likely  win our club championship and our course is 6700yds 75/140. The winning score is usually around +5. I think barring unusually poor play they would beat that.  Or at least be the heavy favourite every year

The LPGA plays at Kingsmill every year, a course not to far from me. A friend of mine who is a scratch golfer (+2) just played in the PGA Asst championship there and shot 78. I think the worst players on the LPGA can do better than that.
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#22 alittleoverpar

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 03:43 PM

Well, I'm a 4 hdcp and I had the opportunity to play with a woman in Arizona that had tried to make it on the Canadian Women's tour.  She had no problem dismantling me.  I would agree that a 4 hdcp golfer has virtually no chance against an LPGA pro.
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#23 benclab

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 03:44 PM

In a word, no. I was a plus 4 and played with LPGA and top lady college/am players all the time and it was a fight to win some lunches. I won maybe 60 percent of the time. I was also a tee box back. A 4 handicapper would beat them maybe 1 out of 15 times.

Edited by benclab, 24 August 2016 - 11:58 PM.

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#24 thegooddoctor

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 03:49 PM

first off i agree with what's being said, that no chance at all a 4 could beat an LPGA player. Even on a long setup, that prob favors the LPGA player even more because I am guessing that long iron approaches would create more problems and more errant shot for the amateur than the pro who hits those shots with regularity.

But random stupid follow up question, some courses have ratings and slope from the same tee that are different for men versus women. So in theory, from the same tees, a man's HC would be higher than a women's for the same score....correct or am I stupid?

Thus, if we say that to be a male pro +6 is about where you need to be, a +6 women could be closer to a scratch or +1 or 2 male? I think the match between an average LPGA women and a +1 would be very interesting.
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#25 wobgon

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 03:50 PM

View PostMcCann1, on 23 August 2016 - 03:06 PM, said:

LPGA pros are some of the best short game players and putters in the world. Distance doesn't matter on that tour as much as PGA. They can get the ball up and down like nobody else and for that reason alone would destroy a 4 handicapper because those are the type that have their game somewhat together but can't get the ball in the hole quick enough

No they can't get the ball up and down like nobody else.......LPGA chipping and putting is not as good as PGA tour.    Just a fact.


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#26 pinhigh27

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 03:50 PM

View PostMcCann1, on 23 August 2016 - 03:06 PM, said:

LPGA pros are some of the best short game players and putters in the world. Distance doesn't matter on that tour as much as PGA. They can get the ball up and down like nobody else and for that reason alone would destroy a 4 handicapper because those are the type that have their game somewhat together but can't get the ball in the hole quick enough

totally wrong. their short games are atrocious relative to PGA tour players. the short game difference is the biggest gap between PGA and LPGA, distance is not.

They have incredibly easy course set ups relative to the pga tour.
How to be in better shape for golf?
Become a better athlete.
Don't worry about golf specific.
Compound lifts w/ linear progress
Don't forget the mobility work.
More results, more functional

Spin is not your enemy, everything is a trade-off.
17 * 1700 goes really far, but doesn't go very straight or consistent
8* 3500 goes really straight, but doesn't go very far
Answer for most is somewhere in the middle.
Pga tour driver avg launch conditions: 11* 2700

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#27 naval2006

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 03:50 PM

Not in a lifetime LOL.  

The thing is you know what those girls play like when you get to see them live.  They aren't showy on tv but they are real golf animals.

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#28 pinhigh27

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 03:50 PM

View PostHot Rod 71, on 23 August 2016 - 03:39 PM, said:

View PostMtlJeff, on 23 August 2016 - 12:19 PM, said:

A 4 handicap means on a fairly normal course the guy is shooting 75-79 or whatever as his good scores.  That's maybe like a fairly benign 6500-6600yd course at the end of the day.  

LPGA player would crush a 4 handicap

A top 100 LPGA player would most likely  win our club championship and our course is 6700yds 75/140. The winning score is usually around +5. I think barring unusually poor play they would beat that.  Or at least be the heavy favourite every year

The LPGA plays at Kingsmill every year, a course not to far from me. A friend of mine who is a scratch golfer (+2) just played in the PGA Asst championship there and shot 78. I think the worst players on the LPGA can do better than that.

and your buddy probably played from 1000 yards further than they do.
How to be in better shape for golf?
Become a better athlete.
Don't worry about golf specific.
Compound lifts w/ linear progress
Don't forget the mobility work.
More results, more functional

Spin is not your enemy, everything is a trade-off.
17 * 1700 goes really far, but doesn't go very straight or consistent
8* 3500 goes really straight, but doesn't go very far
Answer for most is somewhere in the middle.
Pga tour driver avg launch conditions: 11* 2700

28

#29 wobgon

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 03:53 PM

View PostHot Rod 71, on 23 August 2016 - 03:39 PM, said:

View PostMtlJeff, on 23 August 2016 - 12:19 PM, said:

A 4 handicap means on a fairly normal course the guy is shooting 75-79 or whatever as his good scores.  That's maybe like a fairly benign 6500-6600yd course at the end of the day.  

LPGA player would crush a 4 handicap

A top 100 LPGA player would most likely  win our club championship and our course is 6700yds 75/140. The winning score is usually around +5. I think barring unusually poor play they would beat that.  Or at least be the heavy favourite every year

The LPGA plays at Kingsmill every year, a course not to far from me. A friend of mine who is a scratch golfer (+2) just played in the PGA Asst championship there and shot 78. I think the worst players on the LPGA can do better than that.
A true +2 shooting 78 at kingsmill had a bad day........We used to play it from the same tees the LPGA played after the tournament, and had quite a few scores under par.

Edited by wobgon, 23 August 2016 - 03:54 PM.


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#30 pinhigh27

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 03:56 PM

I'm scratch, played reds this yr 1 time just to see what I'd put up, shot 61(-11). Played average, even made a bogey. +6 differential.

Scratch gives them a run for their money if we're talking avg lpga tour player from same tees. +3 destroys them. Do I think I can beat lydia ko consistently? Hell no. but there is a gigantic talent difference in ko and an avg lpga tour player.

How to be in better shape for golf?
Become a better athlete.
Don't worry about golf specific.
Compound lifts w/ linear progress
Don't forget the mobility work.
More results, more functional

Spin is not your enemy, everything is a trade-off.
17 * 1700 goes really far, but doesn't go very straight or consistent
8* 3500 goes really straight, but doesn't go very far
Answer for most is somewhere in the middle.
Pga tour driver avg launch conditions: 11* 2700

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